US eves extend their reign

Defending champions capture fifth successive title

US eves extend their reign

The United States extended their long reign in Olympic women's basketball by claiming their fifth successive gold medal with an 86-50 rout of France at the London Games on Saturday.

 With Candace Parker leading the way, the Americans extended their Olympic winning streak to 41 games dating back 20 years to their bronze medal at the 1992 Barcelona Games. 

"We know how hard we have to work to make it look easy," said US coach Geno Auriemma, whose team went 8-0 with an average victory margin of more than 34 points a game. 

"We take great pride in our basketball programme. The expectation is to win and we take it very seriously." 

The US used a 9-0 run to build a 12-point halftime lead and then blew the game open by scoring a remarkable 19 unanswered points in the third quarter to lead by 30. 

France, who were playing in their first women's Olympic basketball final, took the silver medal, while Australia earlier claimed the bronze with an 83-74 victory over Russia. 

The French kept it close in the first quarter of the final, trailing 20-15 going into the second quarter after holding an early 13-11 lead. 

Sparked by Parker, who scored off offensive rebounds and at the front of fast breaks in totalling 11 points in the second quarter, the Americans went into intermission with a 37-25 lead. With Kobe Bryant and Chris Paul of the US men's team cheering them on, the US women came out after the break and applied full court pressure, which rattled France and sparked the massive 19-point run that padded the lead to 62-32 as the European side went nearly six minutes without scoring. 

US men triumph

The United States, fiercely challenged in a brilliant game, beat an inspired Spain 107-100 to win the Olympic gold medal in men’s basketball at North Greenwich Arena on Sunday. With Kevin Durant leading the way with 30 points, the US retained their Olympic title in a rematch of their closely-fought 2008 final in Beijing.

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